Materials Engineers investigate the properties of metals, ceramics, polymers and other materials and assess and develop their engineering and commercial applications.
Reviews plans for new products and submits material selection recommendations in accordance with design specifications and factors such as strength, weight and cost.
Plans and implements laboratory operations to develop new materials and fabrication procedures for new materials to fulfil production cost and performance standards.
Confers with producers of materials, such as metals, ceramics, polymers, cements and elastomers, during the investigation and evaluation of materials suitable for specific product applications.
Reviews product failure data and implements laboratory tests to establish or reject possible causes, and advises on ways to overcome any problems.
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. Employment projections data are only produced for occupations at the broad four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level. While data are not available for this occupation, projections data are available for the parent occupation, Chemical and Materials Engineers, under the outlook section.
Earnings and hours
Around 84% of people employed as Materials Engineers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 18 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 44 hours per week in their main job. This is the same as the all jobs average.
Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Materials Engineers||All Jobs Average|
Around 71% of Materials Engineers live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
Western Australia has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
The region with the largest share of workers is Illawarra.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Materials Engineers is 37 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 17% of the workforce. This is 31 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Materials Engineers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||3.8||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A bachelor degree in chemical, biochemical or process engineering is needed to work as a Materials Engineer. Many workers have a postgraduate qualification.
Registration may be required in some states and territories. In addition, Engineers Australia has a non-compulsory National Engineering Register.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Materials Engineers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||34.7||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||0.6||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Chemical and Materials Engineers who can work well in a team, communicate clearly with a diverse range of people and provide good customer service.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Reading work related information.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Understanding needs and product requirements to create a design.
Using maths to solve problems.
Talking to others.
57%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
57%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Teaching people how to do something.
52%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
46%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
46%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
87%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
71%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
70%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
58%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
56%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
51%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
43%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
41%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
41%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
38%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
37%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
37%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
35%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Communicate by speaking.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Read and understand written information.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
61%Working with numbers
Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
57%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
See details that are far away.
48%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
82%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
82%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
81%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
79%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
79%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
77%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
75%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
74%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
73%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
72%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
71%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
68%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
68%Giving expert advice
Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.
67%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
66%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
66%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
63%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
63%Coming up with systems and processes
Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.
62%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Use electronic mail.
Talk on the telephone.
Talk with people face-to-face.
92%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
Work with people in a group or team.
84%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
83%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
83%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
77%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
76%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
71%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
71%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
Work to strict deadlines.
70%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
68%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
63%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
Compete with others, or be aware of competitive pressures.
63%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
63%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 17-2131.00 - Materials Engineers.